Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Remnant: Duck Hunting
Leslie suggested that the Mayor tap into the old “phone chains” that parents used to pass news along before social media and mass-texting technology took over.
Parents used their phone chains to inform each other about school cancellations and changes in sports schedules. Each parent had two other parents to call. If unable to contact one of “their” parents they also had the two numbers that person was supposed to call and inform.
In short order, Mayor Wagner had a group of fifteen people, mostly women in their sixties and seventies. Mayor Wagner gave them an outline of what they were supposed to say and then cut them loose.
Back at the Sudak farm, Owen kept over-watch while the other four men moved and cut meat.
A person can only cut meat so fast and no faster. Knives get slippery. Hands get tired. A slip can cut tendons in a hand.
The pace of work meant that conversations could be had.
Jarrell had never wrapped his head around the enormity of trying to protect every farm in the Eaton Rapids area.
Parts of the mid-West are flat. The surveyors who platted out the raw land were not very imaginative. Townships were square and six-miles on a side. Counties, where possible were square and four townships on a side.
As the townships were settled, access roads were punched through on one-mile spacing. The basic, bare-bones road system for a single township consisted of 72 miles of road to defend and the least densely populated township adjacent to Eaton Rapids had 1200, isolated households.
There were not enough trained defenders, not enough guns or ammo to cover that kind of territory. It might as well have been one jar of peanut butter and a hundred loaves of bread.
Mostly, old Willie had been listening. He listened to Dar tell about the Battle of Twin Pines. He listened to the other three men as they hashed out the logistics of trying to defend too large of an area. Dar explained about the tactical issues that occur when battle groups are too dispersed to mutually reinforce each other. He used the example of rip-stop fabric.
As they were finishing up, old Willie cleared his throat and spat an enormous goober into the peonies. That was his signal that he had something significant to say.
“You know, when I hunted ducks I didn’t try to chase them down. I brought them to me. I put out decoys and pulled them in. That was the only way to get them into shotgun range.”
“What are you trying to say, old man” Frank Sudak asked him.
“You wanna stop these poachers, put out decoys” Willie said. That is how Willie thought of the raiders, as “poachers”.
“And how would you do that?” Frank persisted.
Willie pointed to a sign a short distance down the road. It was a large, sign cut from a four-by-eight sheet of plywood and painted up to look like an Easter eggs.
“Lena is gonna get hit, sure as shit” Willie said. “She has signs up on -99 too.”
“That sign is your decoy. Lena’s house isn’t something I would want to have to defend. Why wouldn’t you move that sign to where you want to fight your battle? Maybe even stake out a few chickens in plain sight like a goat on a leopard safari?”
Willie’s observation led to a spirited discussion between Dar and Frank regarding local terrain and which driveways most lent themselves to something Jarrell had never heard of before, “kill-sacks”.
Back in Eaton Rapids, the phone-chain was meeting with stiff resistance from the people they called.
The animal owners were, rightfully, suspicious. The general consensus was that the animal owners would “think about it” or they would “ask around”.
A few were openly hostile. They sneered “What do you want me to do? Give you my animals for safe-keeping? Like I would ever see them again.”
Mayor Wagner was surprised at how fragmented the animal owners were. Most of them never “showed” at the county fair. Cattle people mostly knew the other cattle people. Horse people knew horse people. Some chicken people knew other chicken people. Every llama owner knew every other llama owner and so on.
While everybody had driven past the Twin Pine ranch on M-99 (really, the best, quickest way into Lansing) during the past year, most animal owners dismissed the possibility that they would ever be raided. After all, they did not live on M-99 or did not have fancy beef cows...or any other of a dozen reasons why they were different.